We have created resources for STEM education that present science through exciting transmedia stories told by middle school-age multiethnic characters. These are our resources:
- Four LEARNING PAGES with short stories, videos and lessons with student questions
- Two 2021 Award-Winning Illustrated Science Children’s Adventure Books
- Fifteen YouTube Science Videos
- Kids page with stories
- Kids Projects Page with projects related to the stories
- Two Video Learning Games
We believe that providing children with the wonderful stories of discovery is a great way form them to learn and become excited about science. We have organized those stories on our LEARNING PAGES to support a Jigsaw teaching strategy.
A great way for children to learn science is by providing them with the amazing stories that scientists have discovered. TheBeamer LLC is telling those stories as adventures of discovery. The stories are told by 7 young characters that use an online Virtual World to travel in time, space, and size scale to discover nonfiction science concepts. Their stories are told in two award-winning illustrated science adventure books (The Stardust Mystery and The Race to the Big Bang), fifteen YouTube videos, thirty short stories, and four online lessons. For the online lessons, students learn pieces of the science jigsaw and then share the pieces to learn the full picture. A sixth grade girl who reviewed The Stardust Mystery book said this, “I love reading about science but what makes it even better is reading about kids my age doing science.”
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Children can learn wonderful science stories using a jigsaw learning strategy on our online LEARNING PAGES. Each page has short science stories told by our seven young characters plus videos and questions. Students choose a character and learn what that character has discovered. The same characters meet to compare what they learned. Then all the characters meet and present what they learned to bring the whole subject together for the class.
Stardust (atoms): https://thestardustmystery.com/all-about-stardust-atoms/
We are made of Stardust that was once in the bodies of Albert Einstein and the Last T-Rex. Yes, that is true. We each have over 5000 trillion particles that were once in a single T-Rex and over 300 trillion that were once in Einstein. And we are made of a trillion trillion of such particles called atoms. They were created in the end-of-life explosion of stars over 13 billion years ago. During the history of Planet Earth, our atoms have been shared by all of its plants and animals. If our atoms were the size of sand grains, we would be as tall as planet Earth. But fortunately, our atoms are millions of times smaller than sand grains. Students learn about the properties of atoms (kinds, arrangements, sizes and numbers) and how the atoms were created and shared during the history of Earth.
The History of Earth: https://thestardustmystery.com/history-of-earth/
This LEARNING PAGE includes six short stories abour how the Earth and the Moon were formed and about the events that made our planet a habitable environment for plants and animals. Stories explore how events on earth, like the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs, have affected the evolution of animal species. Six videos tell stories of the dinosaur-killing asteroid and about how atoms that make up the earth were formed and how they are shared among plants and animals.
Our Place in The Universe: https://thestardustmystery.com/our-place-in-the-universe/
The eight stories describe where Planet Earth is located in the Universe that was created 13.8 billion years ago in the Big Bang. Our understanding of this universe was facilitated by Henrietta Leavitt who developed the first useful method for measuring the distance to far awaw stars. Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding and Georges Lemaitre predicted it two years earlier based on solving the equations of the Theory of Relativity. Jackson tells the story of black holes, Richie tells the story of dark matter that may have killed the dinosaurs, Johari tells the story of peculiar things in the Universe, and Grandpa tells the story of Einstein’s twin paradox demonstrated by Lizzy and her sister Neddy. Two videos describe star supernova and neutron star pair collisions that produced the atoms in our universe.
The Covid-19 Caronavirus: https://thestardustmystery.com/the-coronavirus/
The stories on this LEARNING PAGE present the important teachable moment from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our seven young characters from The Stardust Mystery Project are on a mission to help other kids understand how we can become infected by the Covid-19 Coronavirus, and how the revolutionary mRNA vaccines can keep us safe. They star in three videos that uses a Virtual World space, time, and size-change travel ship. They reduce their size to follow the virus and the vaccine into a human body. They discover how the virus hijacks our cells to reproduce itself to make us sick, and how the mRNA vaccine uses our cells to create immunity to the virus. With this new project, they learn some interesting biology about how our body’s cells have factories that can fabricate substances based on pieces of genetic codes. Grandpa’s story is about the amazing CRISPR immunity system developed by bacteria and how that system was made into a 2020 Nobel Prize-winning genetic engineering tool. Three videos present the stories of the infection, the vaccine, and our bodies factories.
The Best 2021 STEM book award-winner, The Race to the Big Bang, is a time-travel adventure book with nonfiction science content. It tied for first place as the Best STEM book in the 2021 Purple Dragon Fly Children’s Book Awards. It is the sequel to The Stardust Mystery which won for Best STEM E-Book. Both books (for children age 8 to 14) together with FREE companion YouTube videos, short stories and online LEARNING PAGES are part of our Stardust Mystery Project, funded in part by the National Science Foundation. The stories are told by 7 young characters that use an online Virtual World to travel in time, space, and size scale to discover the science of atoms, Planet Earth, the Solar System, the Universe, the Big Bang, the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and the revolutionary mRNA vaccines. This is what a sixth grade girl said about The Stardust Mystery: “I love reading about science but what makes it even better is reading about kids my age doing science.”
THE STARDUST MYSTERY illustrated book is a companion to The Stardust Mystery video games. It follows the adventures of cousins Lizzy, Milo, VC, and Neddy as they unravel the Stardust Mystery through the history of the Earth and the Universe. Traveling in the Cosmic Egg, time, space, and size-change travel ship, they must figure out how everyone alive contains some of the same STARDUST that was once in the bodies of Albert Einstein and the Last T-Rex. They must find out what STARDUST is, and how, when, and where it was created.
THE RACE TO THE BIG BANG is a fictional story of children using the time, space, and size-change travel capabilities of an online Virtual World to discover nonfiction science concepts while coping with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The kids form a team to compete in The Race to the Big Bang Contest where they learn wonderful science stories about Planet Earth, the Universe, the Big Bang, and how atoms are created in star explosions. The COVID-19 pandemic has created enormous disruptions in the kid’s lives. But there is a spectacular positive outcome of the pandemic that has created a wonderful teachable moment for them. It is the introduction of the first ever genetically engineered mRNA vaccines. The kids decide to use the Virtual World to learn about the COVID-19 virus and the vaccines.
In the book’s Epilogue and three videos the young characters use the Virtual World’s size change capability to follow the behavior of the virus and mRNA vaccines in a human body.
Our aim is to provide resources for STEM education that present science through a compelling transmedia story. The Stardust Mystery is our story. Its theme is: “we are made of STARDUST that was once in the body of Albert Einstein and the last T-Rex.” And this is what students can discover in video games, science videos, illustrated story books, and Expert AvatarTM personal tutors.
- The STARDUST (atoms) that make up their own bodies was created in the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago and in subsequent star explosions during the evolution of the universe
- Those cosmic cataclysms created all the atoms in the periodic table that are the building blocks for Planet Earth and all life upon it
- Those atoms have incredibly small sizes and stupendously high numbers as they are systematically arranged in living and non-living things
- Those atoms have been shared during the history of Planet Earth. It is astonishing that each of us has over 5000 trillion carbon atoms that were once in the body of just once T-Rex and 300 trillion that were once in Albert Einstein
- The story is aligned with many of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for late elementary and middle school
- “How did Albert Einstein get dinosaur atoms?” describes how carbon dioxide exhaled by a dinosaur is absorbed by a tree millions of years later that produces an apple that is eaten by Einstein.
- Other videos describe the size and number of atoms in our bodies; the cataclysmic cosmic events in which those atoms were created; the arrangement of atoms in material; and atom structure.
- Information on dinosaurs and the KT extinction event are also the subject of videos.
Three videos are related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Stardust Mystery characters use the Virtual World space, time, and size-change travel ship to enter a human body. In one video, they follow the virus to discover how it enters a cell in the body and hijacks the cell’s ribosome factory to reproduce the protein spikes on the virus surface that will create immunity to the virus. A third video looks at our cell’s factories to see how they fabricate substances based on pieces of genetic codes.
In Mission KT, four crew member of the Cosmic Egg, a Time, Space, and size-change travel ship, embark on a mission to find out if they really have inherited Stardust atoms from the last T-Rex and other living things on earth 65 million years ago. There are in-game science videos.
The crew members. each with special tools and capabilities, cooperate on quests in a challenging landscape (mountains, beaches, ocean, volcano, waterfall, river) with many dinosaurs, other animals, sea life, and plants. In their adventure on the ancient Earth, they explore the land, finding, photographing, making clones, and identifying dinosaurs and other animals. They use their tools to perform and compare analyses of chemical composition, temperature, and density of the objects in the world. They also determine the number of carbon atoms they inherited from each creature.
They perform their tasks before an approaching asteroid hits the Earth, then escapee in the Cosmic Egg and observe the calamity from a safe distance. They return one year later to determine what life has survived the impact.
Building the Universe is a time travel and building game that starts at the Big Bang, the beginning of the universe as we understand it. The player arrives in the Cosmic Egg, a ship capable of traveling through time anywhere in the universe, and even altering its scale to shrink below the size of an atom. or larger than the stars. The objective is to build the universe starting from the first fundamental particles and ending with a Solar System and habitable Planet Earth.
In Part 1 of Building the Universe (available Winter 2020), players collect quarks that formed in the first microsecond of the Big Bang. Then they assemble them to create protons and neutrons, and then add electrons and the electromagnetic force to make the first atoms.
The game continues in Parts 2: Cosmic Dawn (planned) with the assembly of gas stars and galaxies. To build solid objects, their Universe must experience the supernovas that produce heavier atoms at the end of the life of the first generation stars. The third part of the game includes the assembly of second generation metal-rich stars, asteroids, comets, and planets. The heaviest atoms are produced with the supernovas of the second generation stars and neutron star collisions. The game concludes with the building of the Solar System and a habitable Planet Earth.